Co-conspirator also convicted in operation that sold marijuana to finance cocaine distribution, shipped cash in cotton-candy machines
A convicted murderer serving a life sentence was convicted of leading a major drug trafficking conspiracy from inside a Georgia state prison.
Eugene Markeith Allen, a/k/a “Poncho,” 42, a former Savannah resident, was convicted of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 500 Grams of More of Cocaine, and Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Kilograms or More of Marijuana by a jury in U.S. District Court in Savannah, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charges carry a possible sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison.
Also convicted in the trial was co-conspirator Karteau Omar Jenkins, a/k/a “Yay,” 42, of Atlanta, on two counts of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 500 Grams of More of Cocaine, and one count of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Kilograms or More of Marijuana. Sentencing for both Allen and Jenkins will be held at a later date
Allen, while incarcerated at Autry State Prison for a 2006 murder conviction, used smuggled contraband phones to direct Jenkins and other members of the extensive drug trafficking conspiracy that imported marijuana and cocaine from California into Atlanta and throughout the Savannah area.
“This hard-fought conviction represents a major step in the continued prosecution of ruthless drug traffickers and gang members who reached from coast to coast in distributing their poison,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Thanks to the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies, however, these traffickers have hit a dead end in the Southern District of Georgia.”
Allen, a leader in the Gangster Disciples street gang, was one of 22 defendants indicted in August 2017 in Operation Five Hole, a multi-agency investigation targeting the drug trafficking organization that hid cash proceeds from drug sales in cotton candy machines for shipment by U.S. Mail and in vehicles with hidden compartments. The operation netted the seizure of pounds of marijuana and kilos of cocaine, along with nearly $400,000 in cash and multiple firearms.
“Not even prison bars could keep this defendant from continuing to commit crimes that threaten our citizens’ safety,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Even while in prison Allen directed his fellow conspirators to prey upon the good people of our communities. The FBI is dedicated to ending their reign of terror no matter where they are.”
“Eugene ‘Poncho’ Allen poisoned and terrorized our community when he lived here and managed to continue to do the same from behind bars,” said Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan. “Thankfully, his time has finally come to an end. This case should serve as a reminder that no one is above the law or too big to be stopped.”
This investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Chatham County Narcotics Unit (CNT), the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham and Effingham County Sheriffs’ Offices, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Marshals Service as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), the premier U.S. Department of Justice program to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations.
The cases were prosecuted for the United States by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney/Assistant District Attorney Noah Abrams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Pennington, with assistance from Litigation Technologist Dean Athanasopoulos.